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The BAD Kind Of "Multiple Currencies"


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This started as a reply to Lephys' latest post in the endgame thread, but then I realized it would fit far better in its own thread. Apologies if this has already been brought up.

 

I love the idea of different currencies for different areas, but I hate currency systems that do the copper-silver-gold thing Dragon Age does. I realize it's theoretically more "realistic," and I grasp the function such systems serve in MMOs, but in a single-player game (and, if I'm honest, in MMOs), getting what is essentially fifteen cents for a SWORD, no matter how crappy a sword it is, feels like a cruel joke on the developers' part. It's an annoying system that always makes me feel like I'm not getting anywhere in the game.

 

I realize that my disdain for the system is almost entirely psychological; it doesn't really matter what you call the coins if their function is the same, and I'm sure that if I looked at a chart of average player earnings in Dragon Age versus those in another game that only used gold pieces, I would see that the curve was roughly the same in both titles. If PE ended up using such a system, it wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me.

 

But what I would rather see is a single coin type for each area (e.g. 500gp). Failing that, a system analogous to, say, dollars and cents (e.g. ç150.25 - I just chose the "ç" symbol at random, BTW) would be good. As long as it's not the DA system, I'll be happy.

Dragon Age doesn't have multiple forms of currency.

 

Dragon Age's currency is analogous to dollars and cents. Silver and copper coins are smaller denominations of the same form of currency in it. Gold is the hundreds column, silver is the tens column and copper is the ones column, in mathematical terms.

 

Multiple forms of currency is like New Vegas with bottlecaps, NCR dollars, and Legion Denarii.

 

Gold, silver and copper or bronze coinage have been standard for most of the history of civilization. It's simple economics. Silver in reality, and typically in fantasy, is less valuable than gold, ergo, you need several silver coins to equal the value of one gold coin.

 

Unless you'd prefer to go back to bartering, in which you have 30 stoat pelts that you want to trade with a seafaring trader for 14 barrels of salt that you'll offer to the vintner in exchange for 6 casks of wine, which is what the blacksmith will accept in exchange for that spiffy new set of armor you want. See what's going on there? In bartering, there's no set universal value to any good or service, it depends on the personal needs and wants of the parties involved, as well as what they have access to.

Edited by AGX-17
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@AGX-17:

 

Fair enough. I knew my language was inexact when I called the thread what I did, but I couldn't remember the exact term. "Tiered currency" is the term I was looking for.

 

Still, my mistaken wording seems to have accidentally fostered two interesting discussions about currency. I'm okay with that result.

 

EDIT: Also, I prefer having one main unit of currency, whether or not it's more realistic.

 

EDIT 2: On the other hand, this is not a hill I'm psyched about dying on either, and I'm sure whatever they do will be fine. It's just something that aggravates me.

Edited by Ffordesoon
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^ Although technically, if you have various different coins/bills, you have currency, in various forms. You have a single currency, with multiple forms. i.e "forms of currency."

 

The title's the only thing that says anything about "multiple currencies." 8P

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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  • 1 month later...

I always try to make fantasy worlds as realistic as possible. I know it sounds stupid, but I believe this is only a prerequisite of completeness.

I would vote for the "multiple currencies" or more precisely, the multiple changes of the same money. And yes, gold, silver, and copper are the most obvious choices, mainly because players will adept to such a well-known system quickly. To make it simple, I wouldn't make denominations, and different types of coins (like the € has specific images of it's host countries), because it would take a lot of time. Instead, it should be defined that 1 Unit of Gold = 100 Unit of Silver, and 1 Unit of Silver = 50 Copper. (On the other hand, it would make an exciting new aspect to the game, if the exchange rates would change day-to-day etc... ) But why is it good?

1. Differentiation: Naturally, one can assume that the city core of a capital is wealthier than the slums. As such, it is really irrealistic to use the same object to trade with. Copper should reflect the poor people, so mundane foods, non-magical weapons, clothing, etc should be.
2. Normalization: I also found it really irrealistic, to have 345.674 Gold pieces, because it clearly meant that I possess more money than any other NPC in the game. Not to mention, that such a great amount of gold would be impossible to contain/ carry. In my opinion, it is easier to read: 245 Gold, 124 Silver, 233 Copper. :)
3. Banking: As other things, this has also been mentioned here. I'm studying economics, that's why I'm really interested in this one. :D But please, imagine the new aspects of this as well. A bank could provide you with a lot of new services: exchange money, "account number" or more precisely, a safe place to hold all your valuables (I can even imagine a "debit card", an arcane stone with runes, that is in direct magical connection wtih the bank, and it can magically teleport the amount of gold, scribed in it with the hands of it's owner), trading with jewellery and precious metals/ gems, buying incredibly expensive and powerful/ unique artifacts, investing (say, you give 2.000 Gold, and you have a chance of winning back more, or less gold in the end of a given period), as well as buying property and estates. If the game is about to contain so much money (like BG), then I can imagine to "buy" Quests. (e.g. you buy a land, an estate, servants, a name or possibly a rank, than you have new responsibilities, and duties, etc...) That would be a possible way to spend your money when you have no other things to buy.

P.S.: Sorry for any mistakes or repeated ideas. I just wanted to express my point of view. :)

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Platinum wasn't available in the medieval era. :)

Neither was Mithril. 8P

 

Ignoring that, during the 19th century, Aluminum was more valuable than gold and platinum, as those values are dictated by rarity. The Washington Monument in D.C. is capped with Aluminum because it was the most valuable metal of the time. As there was then no efficient process of extracting the pure Aluminum element from Aluminum Oxide (insufficient electrical capacity,) it was more rare than all of the aforementioned metals. Until the 20th century, gold's value was dictated simply by its appearance and rarity. Its practical use in computing gave it an additional practical value, but that was just a coincidence of the advent of the computer.

Edited by AGX-17
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Platinum wasn't available in the medieval era. :)

Neither was Mithril. 8P

 

I suppose one could assume that the Dwarves made platinum available at an earlier date.

 

But it might be more interesting and unique to use different metals, such as iron and bronze in the Chinese style so they can be strung on a string.

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I suppose one could assume that the Dwarves made platinum available at an earlier date.

 

But it might be more interesting and unique to use different metals, such as iron and bronze in the Chinese style so they can be strung on a string.

I agree, :).

 

Might even be interesting if the money was entirely made-up. Like... some crystals or something, that get cut into coins, or other convenient shapes that stack and/or fit together, and can be carried/stored easily. Maybe the crystals are rare and/or necessary for something important to the world's civilizations. I don't know. I'm not very good at lore-smithing.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I believe that there are some things that shouldn't be changed. I think that value and money have always been connected somehow with glamour. As such, making a currency that doesn't even look like something precious is irrealistic. On the other hand, inventing new names are also useless in my opinion, 'cause people have certain appearance-name correspondences. (e.g. even if you call something Zahavit instead of Gold, if it has a shimmering yellowish color, than it will be still remembered by MOST people as gold anyway, in an English based game at least...)

So the point is, I think that famous fantasy settings has a deep effect on most of us, and if something would be really against some axiomes, than perhaps it would be out-of-place. (just like in marketing, creating someting really new and unique is always a high-risk strategy... it might be an incredible succes, or it just as well be a great failure.)

Regardless, I believe that the game should contain some new materials, like stones, metals, crystals, or anything else, but this is off-topic. :)

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I love the idea of different currencies for different areas, but I hate currency systems that do the copper-silver-gold thing Dragon Age does. I realize it's theoretically more "realistic," and I grasp the function such systems serve in MMOs, but in a single-player game (and, if I'm honest, in MMOs), getting what is essentially fifteen cents for a SWORD, no matter how crappy a sword it is, feels like a cruel joke on the developers' part. It's an annoying system that always makes me feel like I'm not getting anywhere in the game.

 

You DO realise the "problem" you are bringing is a matter of price balancing, NOT currency?

 

Also, you seem to fail to grasp the value of specific currency in the setting by equating it to cents.

 

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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I honestly believe that "Coin" could be one way to manage the Lethal Playthrough vs the Non-Lethal Playthrough because:

 

1. Lots of Coin = More Power, More Attention = More Physical Conflict

2. Little Coin = Less Power, Less Attention = Less Physical Conflict

 

 

How would the people know how much coin you have anyway?

If you're not flaunting your money around, no one should know.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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@TrashMan:

 

No, because currency is not in any way, shape, or form an area of my expertise. I was pretty sure someone would be annoyed at my use of the term "currency," but there it is. *shrugs*

 

As for your point about cents, you do understand that this is little more than petty whinging on my part, right? I even said it's entirely psychological. I don't care that much either way, but I like having one number. Dunno why, I just do. Except when I don't. :p

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